An Indiana University Hospital did not violate a law prohibiting patient dumping when it sent a woman suffering from severe abdominal pain to another facility to have dying portions of her intestines removed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago declined to revive the lawsuit that Jodie Martindale’s husband filed against Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital under the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA or Treat Act) following his wife’s death. IU Health transferred Martindale to Community Healthcare Systems in Munster, Ind., after examining her. Martindale died at Community Hospital after ongoing intestinal surgery.
A panel of the Seventh Circuit rejected the argument that the Treatment Act required IU Health to stabilize Martindale before transferring her.
The panel acknowledged the Treatment Act generally bars a hospital from transferring a patient with an emergency medical condition if the patient has not been stabilized.